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Oscar 2015: Paramount Starts Oscar Campaign For 'Noah'; Is This a New Trend?

First Posted: Apr 22, 2014 08:01 AM EDT

Even though most Oscar campaigns get underway in November, Paramount is beginning early this year with "Noah."

The Academy is an organization that generally chooses end of the year films to get nominated and win the big awards. The organization generally forgets that the first five months ever happened even if there are gems during that time period. It is a well known fact that the first few months generally have terrible films that are usually both box office flops and critical debacles. However, in recent times, a number of movies have shown strength but have ultimately been ignored at the Oscars. Last year, for instance, "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Mud" and "Spring Breakers" were released in March and April to critical acclaim and were box office hits. However, the fact that the movies came out so early and that the campaigns were not as strong hurt these films' chances at Oscars.

This calendar year has already had a number of hits and critically acclaimed features. These include the box office hit "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Noah," "Enemy," "Under the Skin," "Joe" and "The Railway Man."

As a result, Paramount is already taking action in order for "Noah" not to be forgotten during the awards season. The studio is allowing Academy members free passes to see the film. This is routinely done during awards season, but given how difficult the competition has become for the past two years, it seems that Paramount wants to get a head start. The studio sent an email to a number of theater chains including AMC and Cinemark which stated that all Academy members could go see the movie for free. The email also included a list of categories "Noah" was eligible for including a song by Patti Smith entitled "Father Song."

The strategy is interesting given that Best Picture nominees usually come out at the end of the year and the last time a March release was nominated for Best Picture was "Erin Brockovich" back in 2000. Paramount had success last year with "Nebraska" when it began a grass roots campaign in July after the film premiered in Cannes in May. However, that movie was released in November. "Noah" has scored good reviews, but has been in the media due to a controversy with religious groups. The film was not a box office success as it only pulled in $93 million and cost an estimated $125 million. It is also special effects driven movie and usually the Academy tends to go for art house films.

With Paramount already beginning its campaign it will be interesting to see if Fox Searchlight does the same with "The Grand Budapest Hotel" or A24 does something similar with "Under the Skin" or "Enemy." However, these distributors are much smaller and do not have as much money to start early campaigns. Fox Searchlight has had a number Oscar nominees and winners but has never had a situation where one of its films is released so early. Meanwhile, A24 is in its second year and has not had any Oscar nominations in its history. Last year it had a number of critical successes but only campaigned one of its film; that movie was "Spring Breakers."

Do you think that Paramount's strategy will change the Oscar race? Do you think that this will help "Noah" get Oscar nominations?

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